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During the 16th century the town was famous for its diptychs, from Albrecht Dürer’s 1507 painting of Adam and Eve to the many hundreds of double-sided ivory sundials like this example, above, which was offered at Christie’s sale of scientific instruments in London on April 11.

What makes this Nuremburg diptych dial unique, however, was that it is the only one in recorded existence to be carved with a town scene (of Nuremberg, naturally) instead of the usual figural/biblical scenes. Signed Johan Gebhart, a city bürger and dial maker from 1538, the 51/4in (13cm) diptych resembled similar images of Nuremburg from the early 16th century.

The dial was missing its wind vane, needle and glass and sold at £12,000 (plus 17.5 per cent premium and VAT).